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Public assistance and government benefit in Arizona.

Get information on public assistance in Arizona as well as benefit programs. A number of organizations, including the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and DES (Division of Economic Security), provide cash assistance, case management, food stamps or Nutritional Assistance, and other resources to low income families and single people. Find how to get government benefits in AZ from DES or AHCCCS.

Financial help from Arizona DES

The Arizona Cash Assistance program is the state’s version of TANF. The program offers temporary cash assistance and other benefits to very low-income families and people in poverty. The programs focus on the most vulnerable and at risk Arizona families with children. The cash can help families meet their basic needs, pay bills, and can serve as a bridge to allow people to get back to becoming self-sufficient. It combines employment services as well. More on cash assistance in Arizona.

Emergency assistance can be provided by Short Term Crisis Services (STCS). The program can offer temporary financial assistance to low income households experiencing a crisis or some type of emergency situation. A wide variety of resources and services can be provided to help the household in addressing the crisis.

The Arizona Short Term Crisis Service is a partnership with other non-profit agencies across the state. Public funds and grants from the federal government and state funds can be paid out to individuals. Money will be used to provide financial assistance with paying rent, energy bills, housing and mortgage expenses. Or use the STCS benefits from Division of Economic Security to pay for car or home repairs and other special needs. The program was created to help people either maintain or obtain employment.

Child care expense assistance – Arizona DES Child Care will help families pay for their child care costs or provide, in come cases, free daycare. Public money can be used to pay child care expenses if the parent needs help while they participate in job training activities or maintain employment. From time to time funds may be paid out in certain other circumstances when parents are unable to pay for child care themselves. Families need to meet income guidelines and be found to be qualified for assistance. Read Arizona free child care assistance programs.




Community agencies partner with DES to offer families utility or light bill help from the federal government Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  The LIHEAP program is run at the local county level, so you need to call or stop by your local community action agency to apply. The public funded emergency utility assistance program can provide one-time cash grant to help low income households pay their cooling or heating bills. A crisis component can prioritize Arizona families who are faced with a shut off of their service.

Department of Economic Security Utility and Telephone Discount Programs. In addition to LIHEAP which is referenced above, DES administers three other utility bill and telephone discount programs for Arizona residents. The programs run in close ties with agreements from Qwest Corporation (Qwest) as well as Arizona Public Service Company (APS). It even can pay for the hook up of service or provide free government cell phones.

  • Lifeline Telephone Discount Program provides savings and discounts to the basic telephone rates of low income households. People who currently receive other public assistance may also qualify.
  • Telephone Assistance Program for the Medically Needy – Individuals who can’t afford a phone, but who need one for a medical condition, may receive substantial savings.
  • Senior Telephone Discount Program – Seniors and people 65 or old in Arizona who also meet low income guidelines can get a discount on their basic telephone rates.

Get help finding a job in Arizona. The Department of Economic Security works with non-profit agencies and a statewide network of public employment offices. They partner together to offer placement services for labor force recruitment services, guidance for employers, and also offer help for job seekers. The Employment Service program focuses on providing a variety of employment-related labor exchange services including job referral, recruitment services for employers with job openings, job search and placement assistance.

There are also free ESL classes, apprenticeships, vocational training in AZ and, re-employment services to Unemployment Insurance claimants, information on training, and more. Short term financial help is offered too, such as free stuff including work clothes or a gas card for the job site.





Unemployment Insurance Program is also administered by the Arizona Department of Health Services. This assistance program provides people who have lost their job with a measure of economic security. or works by offering financial assistance to the individual worker when unemployment occurs. The UI Program pays cash benefits and grants on a weekly basis to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own.

Disability assistance and services are available from Social Security Administration. Resources can help people with disabilities pay their bills and meet their basic financial needs. The DES Disability Determination Service Administration (DDSA) determines medical eligibility for two government funded Social Security Administration (SSA) disability programs, the first being Supplemental Security Income (SSI), also known as Title XV, and the second is known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is also known as Title II.

Free Medicaid, insurance and healthcare from AHCCCS

AHCCCS Medical Assistance and Health Insurance. Tens of thousands of Arizona families get free low low cost government medical insurance coverage from this resource. It provides them the ability to receive free or low cost doctor’s office visits, physical exams, prescription medications, immunizations, prenatal care, and hospital care. There is also some free dental from Medicaid in AZ, equipment, transportation to the doctor,, stuff and items for the low-income on Medicaid as they will automatically be qualified for other resources. More on Medicaid free stuff.

AHCCCS Dental Benefits in Arizona - Adults as well as some kids will be able to get free (or very cheap) dental services. The state works with clinics, doctors, and dental chains to provide teeth cleanings, emergency dentures or root canals and similar care. Locate free dental for the low income Arizona.

Nutritional assistance and food benefits in AZ

The Emergency Food Assistance Program, otherwise known as TEFAP, is funded by the federal government and is a public benefit program. This resource can provide nutrition assistance and free emergency food. Immigrants, the jobless and low income and seniors will get free groceries, coupons and other benefits In addition, federal government surplus food is distributed as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded program.

DES’ Nutrition Assistance Program – Helps tens of thousands of families meet their nutritional needs This is the Arizona version of SNAP food stamps. Eligibility for free food and other benefits from the EBT card  is based on the applicants household income, resources, and other program requirements. EBT is Arizona is for eligible non-citizen status, residence, citizenship, and cooperation and other factors.







Other food assistance benefit programs in AZ are administered as part of the Coordinated Hunger Program. The primary goal of this program is to coordinate with various public, federal, state, and local organizations to help as many people as possible. It will give free food assistance to the hungry and contracts with various non-profit agencies to maximize resources in the community.

Among the services provided are food bank coordination, supplemental nutrition assistance outreach, food boxes, government commodities like cheese. The social workers are involved in  making available information on where to obtain free or low cost groceries, baby formula or other stuff when someone is in need.

Apply for government benefits in Arizona

To apply for public assistance or get more information on what the Arizona AHCCCS or DES can offer, select a county near you below. Or dial (602) 542-4791.

Maricopa County

Pima County

Pinal County


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